From media networks to mobile gaming, here are the week’s biggest job moves.
Tommy Gargotta, a film marketing veteran who most recently worked as head of marketing for the Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution venture, has joined the Fox broadcast network in a senior marketing position. In this newly created position, Gargotta will oversee the on-air promotion and design departments for Fox, which will extend to print, digital and outdoor venues.
The Lakers are in full brand and franchise rebuild mode, and it has named the legendary Hall of Famer, Earvin “Magic” Johnson as president of basketball operations. He replaces, Jim Buss, who will no longer serve as executive VP of basketball operations and is tasked with overhauling the team’s front office.
AwesomenessTV’s co-founder and CEO, Brian Robbins, announced in a memo issued this week that he will be resigning. The memo also stated that Brett Bouttier, who is currently serving as the company’s president, will be taking over the role.
Brad Grey, who has overseen Paramount Pictures for over a decade, announced earlier this week that he was leaving the company. His departure comes amid shake-ups at its parent company, Viacom, which officially made Bob Bakish as its CEO last December. A search for Grey’s replacement is currently underway.
Keith Cox has been named as president of development and production at the Paramount Network, a relaunched version of Viacom’s Spike TV. Cox will be responsible for programming at the rebranding network and its sister channel, TV Land. Meanwhile, Sharon Levy, executive vice president of original series for Spike TV, is departing Viacom. Levy was responsible for developing popular shows that include Lip Sync Battle, Ink Master and Bar Rescue.
The Weather Company has hired Mark Risis as its new VP of partnerships. In this role, Risis will focus on building new tech and data partnerships across the media and ad tech spaces.
Lauren Burack was promoted to the role of SVP of brand and consumer marketing at IFC. Burack will oversee IFC’s consumer-facing marketing campaigns, brand communication, events, promotions and partnerships.
Lara Cohen, head of entertainment and lifestyle partnerships at Twitter, said that she will be leaving the company. Cohen joined Twitter in 2013 and was responsible for working with talent across TV, film, fashion lifestyle and digital domains—creating content that fans could connect with.
The streaming video venture, BAMTech (owned by MLB Advanced Media, Disney, and the NHL), has hired Michael Paull as its new CEO. Paull was most recently Amazon’s VP of digital video and begins his role at BAMTech in March.
Kristina Schake—who is best known for helping former first lady, Michelle Obama, build her brand—is joining Instagram as head of communications. At the same time, the current head, David Swain announced that he is leaving Facebook after almost a decade at the company.
WWE has appointed Sal Siino as its senior vice president of global content distribution and business development. According to a press release, Siino “will be a key member of WWE’s leadership team, responsible for the management of WWE’s worldwide content distribution business across all platforms. Siino will also manage business development initiatives and partnerships, and provide related support to WWE’s business units. “
Cirque Du Soleil named Danny Boockvar as its president of the NFL Experience Times Square, which is expected to launched in November. The attraction will use interactive displays on training regimens, game plans and physical challenges to bring football to life and allow guests to compare themselves with pro players.
IO Interactive, creator of the Hitman series, announced the promotion of Hakan Abrak to studio head. Abrak has been with the company for over a decade, and he replaces Hannes Seifert, who left IO Interactive and its parent company, Square Enix, to pursue a project that is closer to his home in Austria.
Square Enix announced the opening of Studio Istolia, based in Tokyo, to “builds on Square Enix’s vision to create new intellectual properties alongside existing Square Enix studios,” according to a press release. The studio is headed by Hideo Baba, who is famous for Bandai Namco’s Tales franchise.
Coffee Stain Studios, the company most famous for the comedic game, Goat Simulator revealed that it will be getting into the business of indie game publishing. The move comes as a reaction to years of dealing with publishers who were either unable or unwilling to meet the needs of indie developers. The first game to release under the Coffee Stain label will be an ‘80s-style retro shooter called Huntdown, developed by the Swedish studio, Easy Trigger.
Netmarble announced that it completed its acquisition of Kabam, which made Marvel Contest of Champions and is currently developing Transformers: Forged to Fight. Netmarble will operate Kabam as a wholly-owned subsidiary. “The acquisition is a perfect fit,” said Seungwon Lee, chief global officer of Netmarble Games in a statement. “Kabam has a proven track record of developing games based on iconic entertainment brands, powered by state-of-the-art technology and managed by an incredibly talented team. It’s a winning combination, and together we’ll continue Netmarble’s expansion across Western markets.”
In the wake of the Netmarble acquisition, Kabam has spun-off its remaining two studios—comprised of former teams in Los Angeles and San Francisco—into a new company called Aftershock. The new company will be run by much of Kabam’s leadership team, including Kevin Chou as its CEO, Steve Klei as CFO, Kent Wakeford as COO and Aaron Loeb as president of studios and live services.